Saturday 21 January 2023

General Erich Vlad: 'What are our war aims?' (Answer: 'Defeating Hitler'?)

'Oh! let us never, never doubt 
What nobody is sure about!'

Belloc's words are the best comment on comments about the Ukrainian war.

By reading the media people do not learn much but become convinced that they know a huge amount and, worse, that they know what will happen.

Dear readers, beware of people who think they know what will happen.

Including Sir Laurence Freedman and other experts who think Ukraine can win.

What does winning mean?

I think that the people in power (including Vladimir Putin, the German Greens, most Americans) are more interested in the past than in the present or future. 

In this case, the past in question is the Second World War. 

All sides are refighting it, just as all sides in the Bosnian war were, including the Americans. 

Even John Major and Douglas Hurd reprised Chamberlain and managed to keep out of a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom they knew nothing.

General Erich Vad was military adviser to the Bundestag and then to Angela Merkel. 

He never saw combat and she appointed him a general so that the other generals would accept him as one of them. 

He has given an interesting interview to a feminist magazine called Emma, Germany’s equivalent to Ms.

He points out that formerly pacifist Greens have now become Germany's most warlike party. 

The editor (I do not have the courage to write 'editress') and writers at Emma belong to another strand in the German left and issued this petition to Chancellor Scholz.

Here is an extract from the interview with General Vlad.

If Chancellor Scholz had taken you over from his predecessor and you were still the Chancellor's military adviser, what advice would you have given him in February 2022?
I would have advised him to support Ukraine militarily, but in a measured and prudent manner in order to avoid slide effects into a warring party. And I would have advised him to influence our most important political ally, the USA. Because the key to solving the war lies in Washington and Moscow. I liked the Chancellor's course in recent months. But the Greens, FDP and the bourgeois opposition are putting so much pressure – flanked by largely unanimous media music – that the chancellor can hardly absorb it.

So how is this going to continue?

If the Russians were forced to pull out of the Black Sea region by massive Western intervention, they would certainly resort to nuclear weapons before stepping off the world stage. I find it naïve to believe that a nuclear strike by Russia would never happen. According to the motto, 'They're just bluffing'.

But what could be the solution?
One should simply ask the people in the region, i.e. in Donbass and Crimea, who they want to belong to. One would have to restore Ukraine's territorial integrity, with certain Western guarantees. And the Russians also need such a security guarantee. So no NATO membership for Ukraine. Since the Bucharest summit in 2008, it has been clear that this is the Russian red line.

And what do you think Germany can do?
We must dose our military support in such a way that we do not slide into a Third World War. None of those who went to war with such enthusiasm in 1914 thought afterwards that it was the right thing to do. If the goal is an independent Ukraine, one must also ask oneself what a European order that includes Russia should look like. Russia will not simply disappear from the map. We must avoid driving the Russians into the arms of the Chinese, thereby shifting the multipolar order to our disadvantage. We also need Russia as the leading power in a multinational state in order to avoid flaring up fighting and wars. And to be honest, I don't see Ukraine becoming a member of the EU and certainly not a member of NATO. In Ukraine, as in Russia, we have high levels of corruption and rule by oligarchs. What we in Turkey – rightly – denounce in terms of the rule of law, we also have the problem in Ukraine.

What do you think, Mr. Vad, what awaits us in 2023?
A broader front for peace must be built in Washington. And this senseless activism in German politics must finally come to an end. Otherwise we wake up one morning and we're in the middle of World War III.

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